Vaught's Views: Coaching carousel just keeps spinning

July 21, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Just when it seemed that the area coaching carousel could not get any more bizarre, it took another unusual turn.

Cecil Combs, the head boys basketball coach at Garrard County the last seven years, created the latest twist when he resigned to become assistant principal and athletics director at Berea. Now it is Garrard's turn to start scrambling for a coach just like Boyle County did and Harrodsburg still is.

Think about all that has happened in the last few weeks.

First, Boyle coach Andy Moberly, who had two 45th District Tournament championships in his three seasons, resigned because he resented rumors that were swirling about a move he was only contemplating making.

Next, Harrodsburg boys coach Spencer Tatum resigned to become an assistant coach at rival Mercer County, which also is his alma mater.


Boyle's coaching search made former Danville coach Ed McKinney a priority target. Tatum also became a candidate, and was interviewed, just days after resigning to take the job at Mercer.

Confused? It got even better when McKinney surprised many by not only considering the Boyle job, but actually looked ready to take it. That prompted Tatum to pull his name out and gladly start his duties at Mercer.

But just when it looked like the Boyle position was going to be filled, McKinney said no. That left the Rebels with less than three weeks to find a new coach.

No problem. Less than 24 hours after McKinney turned down the job offer, Boyle promoted middle school coach Ronnie Bottoms to head coach - but only on an interim basis for a year.

The same time McKinney was contemplating Boyle's offer, veteran Mercer County baseball coach Jeremy Shope said adios to enter the business world. He left behind a veteran team, one that could well contend for the 12th Region championship next season.

Now Combs has thrown his hat into the former coaches' category, leaving Garrard less than two weeks to see if it can find a new coach.

"It has been a hectic few weeks, hasn't it?" said Garrard principal Kevin Stull Tuesday. "It is a little unusual to see so many coaches resign so close to the start of school. But circumstances sometimes dictate change and you just have to make the best of the situation you are dealt."

The problem with high school coaching vacancies so close to the start of a new school year is that administrators normally have few options because of limited teaching positions available.

Mercer might be able to wait a few months to pick a coach if it wants to hire a paraprofessional baseball coach. But if it wants a teacher to also be the coach, then Mercer officials have few options.

Stull knows he faces the same dilemma. He doesn't want to go the interim route like Boyle did.

Yet he understands how circumstances could dictate that move if he cannot quickly find a qualified coach who also fits the one teaching position he has in the alternative school.

Then again, nothing should be a surprise any more. What would the odds have been in mid-June that Tatum would leave Harrodsburg for Mercer, McKinney would consider coaching at Boyle, Bottoms would be named Boyle's head coach, Shope would leave coaching for private business and Combs would become an assistant principal?

Central Kentucky News Articles